Stretched Thin

Stretched Thin: Army Forces for Sustained Operations

Lynn E. Davis
J. Michael Polich
William M. Hix
Michael D. Greenberg
Stephen D. Brady
Ronald E. Sortor
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 124
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  • Book Info
    Stretched Thin
    Book Description:

    The nation has difficult trade-offs in facing calls on Army forces for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This report describes the effects of large deployments on the Army's ability to provide forces for other contingencies, to ensure that soldiers are trained, and to continue to recruit and retain soldiers. The authors found that Army plans for transformation and employing reserves at reasonable rates still fall short. Steps to improve the situation all involve high risks or costs. Unless requirements recede, the nation faces an Army stretched thin, with no quick fix or easy solution.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4089-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    Recent events have seen a growing demand for use of the nation’s military forces, both for overseas operations and homeland security. The increased pace, driven by the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, has led to more frequent and lengthy deployments of units and soldiers across the entire U.S. Army. In those operations, units are deployed to the theater for an extended period (usually, one year or longer), replacing an existing unit and in turn being replaced when it returns to its home station. The resulting rotation pattern means that much of a unit’s time is devoted to deployments or to...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Employing the Active Component
    (pp. 15-34)

    This chapter defines the types of active Army brigade-level elements considered in the analysis and then describes the range of future operational requirements that we posited. Based on those assumptions, it then assesses the effects when all of these deployments are satisfied using AC units.

    As described in the introduction, the baseline Army (pre-2004) contained three major types of ground maneuver brigades:

    heavy brigades, generally armor or mechanized infantry;

    medium (Stryker) brigades, known as SBCTs (Stryker Brigade Combat Teams); and

    infantry brigades, an Army classification that refers to light and airborne brigades, which typically lack an extensive complement of ground...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Employing Active and Reserve Components Together
    (pp. 35-60)

    In the analysis of AC unit readiness and life-cycle manning, we have been representing rotational strategies that use only AC brigades. Evidently, adding RC brigades to the rotational mix would lessen stress on the AC. However, there are limitations on how much and how frequently RC forces can be used. This chapter describes the available RC structure, the extent to which RC units can participate in rotations over the long term, and effects of various changes in RC employment policies. It will then briefly describe the effects of sustained overseas rotations on individual soldiers’ time at home.

    Table 3.1 summarizes...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Planning Alternatives
    (pp. 61-72)

    This analysis indicates that the nation faces difficult trade-offs among competing goals in supporting intensive and continued overseas deployments. What are the primary choices to improve the readiness of the Army’s active units? In this chapter, we distill the preceding results into a set of leading planning alternatives. All of these involve some type of significant costs or risks.

    Over the long term, our analysis suggests four general policy alternatives available to the Army for managing intensive deployments and maintaining readiness.

    Place primary responsibility on the AC. With this policy, the Army would rely primarily or entirely on the AC...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions
    (pp. 73-78)

    The U.S. Army is called on to undertake many types of missions, which are both uncertain and highly variable. Those missions may involve fighting overseas terrorism; defending the U.S. homeland; bringing stability to Iraq, Afghanistan, and possibly other countries; and responding in force to potential conflicts or emergencies in many parts of the world.

    Recent events have shown how different and complex these operations can be. For example, we have seen how demanding it is to conduct continuing overseas deployments, as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Army must help protect bridges, sensitive sites, and other infrastructure at home. But...

  14. APPENDIX Unit Types and Calculation Methods
    (pp. 79-96)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 97-102)